Thursday, October 7, 2010

Blood Meridian & The Border Trilogy

From Joyce Carol Oates's essay on the work of Cormac McCarthy, in her collection In Rough Country:

Blood Meridian
and the Border Trilogy are counterpoised: the one a furious debunking of the legendary West, the other a subdued, humane, and subtle exploration of the tangled roots of such legends of the West as they abide in the human heart. Where Blood Meridian scorns any idealism except the jeremiad—"War is god"—the interlinked novels of the Border Trilogy testify to the quixotic idealism that celebrates friendship, brotherhood, loyalty, the integrity of the cowboy-worker as one whose life is bound up with animals in a harsh, exhausting, and dangerous environment: "I love this life," says Billy Parham of Cities of the Plain. After the phantasmagoria of Blood Meridian, the domestic realism of much of the Border Trilogy comes as a natural corrective.

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